1960 (last-16 stage)
Russia 3 (Anatoli Ilyin 4, Slava Metreveli 20, Valentin Ivanov 32)
Hungary 1 (Janos Göröcs 84)
This gets mentioned because it set going a competition that is now second only to the World Cup. The first match kicked off on September 29, 1958. Over one lakh people turned up at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium to watch the erstwhile USSR face Hungary. Anatoli Ilyin became the tournament’s first scorer.
Spain 2 (Jesus Maria Pereda 6, Marcelino Martínez 84)
USSR 1 (Galimzian Khusainov 8)
After the USSR were refused entry by Spain in 1960, General Franco relented four years later and the stage was set for an engrossing final. The hosts got off to a flying start at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Even the great Lev Yashin could not save Jesus Maria Pereda’s header from close after he was set up by Luis Suárez. The defending champions were not to be outdone and Galimzian Khusainov levelled soon after from a free-kick. With the match tied 1-1 and a draw looking imminent, up rose Marcelino Martínez and his header gave Spain their only major trophy till date.
San Paolo, Naples, was the venue of this semifinal. The match petered out to a draw and since the tie-breaker hadn’t been heard of, the winners had to be decided by the spin of coin. Russia called incorrectly.
West Germany 3 (Gerd Müller 27, 58, Herbert Wimmer 52)
A generation of stars like Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Günter Netzer and Uli Hoeness, Sepp Maier blossomed and formed a team that would become world champions in two years. They were up against a Russian side playing their third final in four editions. But ‘Der Bomber’ ensured there would be no hiccups.
Czechoslovakia 2 (Jan Svehlik 8, Karol Dobias 25)
West Germany 2 (Gerd Müller 28, Bernd Hölzenbein 89)
In Beckenbauer’s 100th international, West Germany were expected to coast to victory. But Czechoslovakia had other ideas. The match finished 2-2 after 120 minutes and for the first time in a major tournament, the tie-breaker was enforced. The first seven kicks all went in before Hoeness sent his shot over. Antonín Panenka’s audacious chip sent Maier diving to his left and gave Czechoslovakia the crown.
Netherlands 2 (Rudd Gullit 32, Marco van Basten 54)
The masters of ‘total football’ had failed to achieve anything in the 1970s, but a group of talented youngsters were not to take things lying down. Guided by Rinus Michels and executed by AC Milan’s holy trinity — Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Marco van Basten — the Netherlands won. The match would be remembered for Marco van Basten’s near-zero degree angle goal. With little space on the right flank, the striker sent a looping shot that beat Rinat Dasaev and went in off the far post.
Denmark 2 (John Faxe Jensen 18, Kim Vilfort 78)
Fresh from a holiday, Denmark confounded critics by winning the title. Having failed to qualify, they were handed a late berth after Yugoslavia was barred following the Balkan crisis. Denmark arrived with just two weeks of training and stunned the world.
Germany 2 (Oliver Bierhoff 73, 95)
Czech Republic 1 (Patrik Berger 59-pen)
A golden goal and a super-sub helped Germany win their third continental title. Czech Republic’s dream run, helped by the golden generation of Pavel Nedved, Karol Poborsky and Patrik Berger came up short after Berti Vogts threw in Bierhoff.
Greece 1 (Angelos Charisteas 57)
This was yet another story of underdogs turning into top dogs. Defeating France and the Czech Republic on way to the final, Otto Rehagel’s Greece continued their fairytale run with a 1-0 win over the hosts through Angelos Charisteas’s goal.